Working towards an integrated post-secondary school system in Victoria

Improving access, lessening regulatory burdens, streamlining qualifications and securing seamless pathways between sectors.

Working towards a better connected skills system

Lessen the regulatory burden

The Victorian Government has advocated to the Australian Government to lessen the regulatory burden for Victorian TAFE Network providers as government entities. With its focus on quality learning outcomes and scholarship, the higher education regulatory model is well suited to the Victorian TAFE Network. The self-assurance model (where training providers have their own systems and practices to monitor, evaluate and improve their learning outcomes and performance against the standards for Registered Training Organisations) that is being rolled out in the vocational education and training (VET) sector, including for TAFE Network providers, sets the precondition for one body assuring all TAFE quality education outcomes.

Through self-assurance, the one body can satisfy itself that measures expected of quality VET are in place, in addition to the higher education standards it administers.

Streamline qualification development for TAFE Network providers

Barriers relating to the development and formal recognition of qualifications outside of those offered in training packages (known as accreditation) may impact the ability of VET providers to be responsive and relevant in terms of meeting changing occupational needs, particularly in regional Victoria.

Regulatory changes will bring flexibility to VET providers, so they can quickly create bespoke accredited offerings to meet industry needs as they arise.

Course accreditation has the potential to be more efficient and effective if overseen by the Victorian Government via the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) or through a more joined-up model of tertiary education oversight.

The implementation of self-accreditation should take into account the capacity and capability of Victorian TAFE Network providers. This applies the recommendation from the 2020 Future skills for Victoria, Driving collaboration and innovation in post-secondary education and training (the Macklin Review) which calls for a streamlined approach to VET regulation based on the provider’s track record of delivering quality education and training, level of maturity, and effectiveness in meeting skills needs, and provides a pathway to self-accreditation for highly regarded iinstitutions.

New principles for accreditation oversight for these areas of learning need to be developed in conjunction with the VRQA.

Access to higher education funding for TAFE Network providers

Where the Victorian TAFE Network acts as an access point to higher education, Commonwealth higher education subsidies for learners should be available. This is particularly pressing for learning that allows priority cohorts to access higher education as well as learning that is local and aligned to the needs of industry. This aligns with the spirit of the learning account proposed by the Universities Accord Panel.

More broadly, funding arrangements should neither be a barrier to course development and delivery for Victorian TAFE Network providers nor a barrier to collaboration between VET and higher education providers.

Secure seamless pathways between sectors

Beyond funding and regulatory arrangements, there is merit in learning from successful partnerships between VET and higher education providers that have created seamless pathways and qualifications to support skills development. More importantly, there needs to be an enabling environment that allows these partnerships and collaborations to become the norm, rather than the exception.

Recommendations

The Office of TAFE Coordination and Delivery considers the development of a proposal for self-accreditation of Victorian TAFE Network providers.

The Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions, with the Office of TAFE Coordination and Delivery, advocate for a regulatory framework that lessens the burden for Victorian TAFE Network providers and focuses on quality and learning outcomes.

In collaboration with the Office of TAFE Coordination and Delivery, Victorian TAFE Network providers work with universities and institutes of higher education to establish partnerships that recognise the unique value of vocational education and training.

Advocate to the Australian Government for learners to have access to higher education subsidies where the Victorian TAFE Network acts as the access point to higher education.

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